Children growing up in poverty have an increased vulnerability to abuses and negative health impacts. Poverty also has detrimental lifelong impacts on child’s development and life opportunities. Ending poverty for all is the overarching objective of the Sustainable Development Goals and is especially critical to enable all children to achieve their full potential.
According to UNICEF report, In the next 35 years, the Africa continent’s population will double in size; and its under-18 populations will increase by two thirds to reach almost 1 billion. Children are disproportionately affected by poverty, nearly half of all children in sub-Saharan Africa living in extreme poverty[i]. The HIV pandemic also plays a part in pushing affected families deeper into poverty, with severe consequences on children and youths wellbeing.
In order to end poverty for those most affected, children and young people need to be in the centre of the action to reduce poverty. During the recent RIATT-ESA Children and Youth Forum in Tanzania[ii], children identified some key issued that need urgent attention, including:
- Supporting teenage mothers to complete their studies
- Stopping violence against children, especially rape of girls
- Ending child marriage and providing income opportunities for former child brides
- Supporting children growing up with HIV including treatment adherence and dating
- Supporting young boys who have dropped out of school to support their families.
- Stopping the spread of drugs among in and out of school boys
- Meaningful participation of young people in policy and programme development
The theme of the 2017 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is: “Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies”[iii]. The Call to Action to fight to end poverty everywhere specifically highlights the need for active participation of those living in extreme poverty.